11-year-old singer Miguel Antonio the next big thing?
At the age of just 11, young Miguel Antonio has been hailed as the next big thing in music.
Despite his tender age, the young Filipino is no stranger to the stage, having already performed during the "David Foster and Friends Concert" in Singapore in 2011, when he was accompanied by the famed songwriter David Foster himself on the piano. He has also performed at various charity shows and events like "Fashion with a Heart" by Singapore Pools Charity, Hope Foundation 2011, MILK event, and Chingay 2012.
And now, the young ingénue has released his first four-song EP "What Is Christmas To You". Yahoo! Singapore catches up with the young singer over the phone to find out what makes him tick.
When he's not busy wolfing down home-cooked dishes loving prepared by his mum, 11-year-old Miguel Antonio is busy belting out songs in the shower, in the car, or pretty much anywhere he can practice.
Those who've heard him sing says he's blessed with the "voice of an angel". But lest you call him another Asian Justin Bieber wanna-be, his musical influences and idols gravitate more towards "old school" musicians such as Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli, Journey and The Beatles.
"I like how (those singers) put meaning into their music; there is a lot of feeling and soul when you listen to their songs," he told Yahoo! Singapore during a recent phone interview.
"I am not a fan of Justin Bieber, his lyrics are different from the oldies. My mum and dad influenced me to listen to oldies since a young age and I loved them since then," said the Qifa Primary School student, who moved to Singapore with his family in 2007.
His biggest idol? Michael Jackson
But his biggest idol is none other than the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
"I want to be like Michael Jackson when I am older. I would work hard, keep practising and continue to sing in future. My favourite song is "Man In The Mirror" as well as songs from his younger days like "I Want You Back", "Who's Loving You" and "I'll Be There", he said.
Antonio has included Michael Jackson's song "Give Love on Christmas Day" that was recorded by the Jackson 5 in his Christmas EP and rearranged it with a lighthearted jazz feel, yet preserves the nostalgia to the festive classic.
John JR Robinson, the Grammy Award winner who's worked on several of Michael Jackson's albums, laid the drum tracks of Miguel 's latest EP. And according to Robinson, Miguel "reminds (him) of Michael Jackson".
If working with Robinson came as a surprise, Antonio also engaged one of the most respected and sought-after singing teachers, Amanda Colliver, to beef up his vocal chops. Colliver trained thespian Hugh Jackman for his role in "Beauty and The Beast" and Nicole Kidman for her role in the Academy-Award winning film, "Moulin Rouge".
"I started training with Amanda earlier this year and we are even neighbours so it is so convenient for me every time we have lessons; I just have to walk over to her house," joked the gifted singer who sings different genres of music like, pop, rock and soul.
First full album in 2013
And what about school? At the tender age of 11, when children are more worried about getting good grades or playing sports, Antonio says he balances his time well and finishes his homework before he practices singing and learning the piano.
"I started picking up learning the piano just this year and I am learning how to play on my own, usually with the help of YouTube videos," said Antonio, who we're told by his mum began humming songs before he could even talk.
The eldest son of four children is also set on getting his first full album out by December 2013.
"My album is going to have all pop tracks and I will be writing my own songs. In fact, I have already written three songs but there are still some improvements to be made," said Antonio.
Spoken like a true pro.
Antonio will be performing on 12 December at Timbre @ The Substation, where he will sing songs from his Christmas EP as well as covers of songs like Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer" and Journey's "Faithfully".